Health in Lesotho
The country has the highest incidence of tuberculosis in the world.
There are five physicians per 100,000 persons.
The Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Maseru, the main secondary care centre, was closed in 2011 and replaced by a newly built hospital, the Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital, with 425 beds, constructed on a public–private partnership basis. This has produced considerably better health outcomes and more advanced medical technologies than were previously available. It has also attracted patients who could have been dealt with in primary care. More than 27,000 inpatients and nearly 350,000 outpatients were treated in 2015. The scheme absorbed an average of 34.8% of the total government recurrent budget for the health sector for 2012-15. All invasive cardiac care and cancer treatment is referred to public hospitals in Bloemfontein.
Lesotho is severely afflicted by HIV/AIDS and has one of the highest infection rates in the world. The rate has hovered around 25 percent since 2005, although recent trends show new infections decreasing. In 2005 there were 30,000 new infections compared to 21,000 new infections in 2016. In urban areas, about 50 percent of women under 40 have HIV.
The country regards HIV as one of its most important development issues, and the government is addressing the pandemic through its HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan. Coverage of some key HIV/AIDS interventions has improved, including prevention of mother to child transmission and antiretroviral therapy. Prevention of mother to child transmission coverage increased from about 5 percent in 2005, to 31 percent in 2007. The roll-out of antiretroviral therapy has made good progress, with 38,586 people receiving treatment by 2008.
The "Know Your Status" campaign boosted the number of people being tested for HIV to 229,092 by the end of 2007, 12 percent of the population and three times the number tested in 2005. The program is funded by the Clinton Foundation and started in June 2006. Bill Clinton and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates visited Lesotho in July 2006 to assess its fight against AIDS. As a result, the annual rate at which adults in the population who are HIV-negative become HIV-positive declined from 2.9 percent in 2005 to 2.3 percent in 2007, lowering the estimated annual number of new infections from 26,000 to 21,560. These are the first signs of a decline in the HIV epidemic.
The Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS is an industry-wide program providing prevention and treatment, including ARVs when these are necessary, for the 46,000 mainly women workers in the Lesotho apparel industry. It was launched in May 2006. The program is helping to combat two of the key drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: poverty and gender inequality. Surveys within the industry by ALAFA show that 43 percent of employees have HIV.
Prince Harry of UK co-founded the charity Sentebale in Lesotho, for children with HIV/AIDS. The other co-founder is the Prince of Lesotho.
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